Damn it! I need to remember to pick that thing up. Keeps slipping out of my wallet somehow
I’m not one of those ladies who is very good at keeping her mouth shut.
Mind you, I choose my battles carefully. I’m not interested in bickering for the sake of bickering — that takes a lot of energy, and mine is not unlimited
But one time you can bet I’ll say something is to come to the defence of a fellow woman who is being disrespected and gaslighted.
More often than not (but not exclusively), the scenario unfolds like this:
A man has said something he thinks is the best thing since sliced bread, and a woman may respectfully disagree with him.
This is when one of the following statements comes out:
“Okay, don’t get your panties in a twist.”
“Wow, over-emotional much?”
Or, my all-time fave:
“Mayday, mayday, someone has been triggered!”
Today was one of the days I needed to speak up.
When it comes to social media drama, I tend to stay out of it entirely.
Although, I am guilty of hanging out from the sidelines with my popcorn or tea and watching it all unfold for a bit.
After about 5 minutes I get bored and move onto something more productive.
But today, it was a little different.
I watched some back and forth unfold in the comment section of a Facebook post, and saw a snarky guy replying to comments that disagreed with his suggestions for how to better operate the Facebook group.
Some people thought his idea was brilliant — others didn’t agree, and respectfully stated so with very valid concerns.
I watched from the sidelines as he especially went down hard on the women who didn’t agree with his idea, and continually brushed them off in a rude fashion.
By this point, my fingers were iching to type so many different things.
I started weighing the benefits and the cons to entering the conversation.
While I enjoy a valid opportunity to challenge the patriarchy, I also had a full workday ahead.
I know from experience that once I get dragged in, even if I only leave one comment, that interaction will eat at me for the rest of the day.
Because it would prompt other injustices within me to bubble back up to the surface. This is what it’s like to live as a woman.
But it became a no-brainer to intervene as soon as he gaslighted several female writers I deeply respect.
They are intelligent, fair and professional women with an abundance of respect for others.
And in light of their polite disagreement of his idea, he brushed them off and belittled them.
That was the final straw.
Excuse me, I seem to have dropped my card. Let me just pick that up.
I recently wrote a post which details the fact that society expects us as women to keep our mouths shut and just be polite (aka keep our damn opinions to ourselves).
This situation spoke directly to the points in that article.
Watching this guy disrespectfully brush off and discredit the women who didn’t agree with his idea just got under my skin.
It wasn’t right, and so I commented:
“Can we NOT devalue the opinions of women and gaslight them by calling them triggered simply because they don’t agree with the proposition you’ve put forward? Let’s be a little more respectful.”
“Oh great, there you go, dropping the ‘woman’ card.”
I didn’t reply to that comment, because what’s the point?
But hey, let’s instead dissect this while we’re here!
I, good sir, did not make this about gender. YOU did — the moment you graciously accepted the disagreements of men while invalidating the disagreements of women when they were bringing up the same concerns.
You made it about gender the moment you started treating women with less respect because, well, from where I was reading — they just happened to be women.
Gaslighting is a coward’s tactic for dealing with the unpleasant situation of having someone disagree with your opinion.
And the more a man thinks he’s the smartest cookie with the best ideas in the room, the thicker the gaslighting becomes.
Gaslighting makes a discussion immediately about gender. Because it’s used to overshadow a woman’s points or opinions and invalidate them through sexist means.
So actually, if you really think about it dude, YOU were the one who pulled the woman card.
Because that’s what happens when you treat women differently from men, and treat them lesser than.
Don’t get me wrong, gaslighting doesn’t just happen to women.
In fact, it absolutely happens to men too — it happens to anyone who is in a position where they are being discriminated against, and voice their displeasure over the injustice and inequality of the situation.
Gaslighting is used to undermine an individual and distract away from the actual injustice taking place.
We see this happening more often with women, especially when it comes to assaults of women.
By asking “What was she wearing?” rather than, “Can you describe him — what was he wearing?”
By asking, “How much did she drink?” rather than, “Can you describe exactly how the assault against you took place?”
By asking, “How many partners did she have before this?” rather than, “How many others did this perpetrator sexually assault before this victim?”
While these little moments that take place in the comment sections on Facebook aren’t as monumental as the gaslighting that takes place every time a young woman steps forward to report a sexual assault, they still matter.
Because allowing for any gaslighting to take place, without shedding a light on it or calling it out, means it is permissible. And when a small action is permissible, it can lead to a larger, more aggressive actions which deeply disrespect others.
I’m not saying this man will escalate to violence, simply because I witnessed him gaslighting women on Facebook. I’m sure he’s actually a pretty cool guy, who just didn’t say the greatest thing, and was trying to defend his pride in the moment when an idea he genuinely thought was really fantastic didn’t sit well with everyone else.
But his treatment of women, and gaslighting in that moment, was not okay.
And that is why, this time, I chose to get involved and speak up.